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How Can I Tell if My Cat is Pregnant?

Has your female cat started to gain weight? If so, you might wonder if she is pregnant? Here, our Ceres vets list signs that you may have a pregnant cat in your house.

When can cats get pregnant?

If your female cat hasn't been spayed and spends time outdoors (whether you want her to or not), she may be pregnant. Your female cat can experience her first heat cycle, meaning that she is physically mature and able to produce her first litter of kittens, when she is about four to seven months old. 

Depending on where you live, a cat that hasn't been spayed may go into heat as often as every three weeks until she either becomes pregnant or is spayed. An unspayed female cat can give birth to as many as four litters of kittens per year, with between 4 and 12 kittens in each litter. 

This means that if an unspayed adult female cat has had access to the outdoors, there is a high chance she will be preparing to have kittens in the near future. 

Is my cat pregnant? 

A pregnant domesticated cat will typically remain so for about two months. If you suspect your cat is pregnant, you won't have a lot of time to prepare if she is, so it helps to know which signs to look for before time sneaks up on you, or worse, you need to deal with your cat having a surprise litter of kittens. Here are some signs of pregnancy in cats to watch for:

  • Hiding more often 
  • Increased appetite 
  • Becoming more affectionate 
  • Distended abdomen 
  • Pink, swollen nipples
  • May sleep more than usual 
  • Significant weight gain 

Depending on how long your cat has been pregnant, she may not display all of these symptoms. If your feline friend is showing signs of pregnancy and has not been spayed, take her to your vet for an examination to confirm the pregnancy. If it's determined that your cat is not pregnant, your vet can look for symptoms of any underlying health concerns that may be causing these symptoms. 

How Your Vet Can Confirm Your Cat is Pregnant

If you think your cat is pregnant, there are a few different tests the vet can perform to confirm:

  • The vet will very gently feel your cat's belly to determine whether they can detect the presence of fetuses. If your cat is more than 17 days pregnant, your vet should be able to give you confirmation using this approach.
  • Your vet may recommend a quick and easy ultrasound test to look for fetuses if your vet suspects that your cat is 14 days pregnant or more. Heartbeats can be spotted using ultrasound after about 21 days of pregnancy.
  • If your vet believes your cat is fairly far along in her pregnancy (further than 42 days), they may recommend an X-ray. Digital X-rays or radiographs are considered very safe and can help to determine a due date for the kittens and how many there are.

Caring for a Pregnant Cat

Once your vet has confirmed that your kitty is pregnant, they will provide you with specific instructions on how to care for your pregnant kitty. They can provide you with recommendations to help your cat have a safe and healthy pregnancy and birth.

  • Do not squeeze or press on her belly, since this can cause pain and in some cases may lead to miscarriage.
  • Clean her litter box once or twice daily, and make sure that her litter box is easy for her to access as her tummy continues to expand and drop.
  • Provide your pregnant kitty with plenty of high-quality food. Your cat may eat as much as 25% more than normal while she is pregnant and nursing. Ask your vet to recommend the best food for your pregnant cat.
  • Ensure that your cat has a cozy, clean area that she can use to give birth and care for her kittens. This spot should be in a warm and quiet spot in your home, well away from kids, other human traffic, and other pets.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

Has your cat inexplicably gained weight and you're wondering if she's pregnant? Contact our Ceres vets to book an examination for your kitty.

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